Another Sunday, another organ

Heissler organ at Waiokeola Congregational Church

This Sunday I’ll be filling in for organist Gloria Faltstrom at Waiokeola Congregational Church (UCC), across the street from Kahala Mall. Waiokeola is a Hawaiian phrase meaning “Water of Life.” The name reflects both the Hawaiian tradition of name giving as well as the positive characteristics of the Christian faith. The name is a fitting acknowledgement of the past with connotations of prosperity for the future.

As you look at the picture of the organ case above, doesn’t it remind you of a waterfall?

I believe this is the first time I’m going to substitute at Waiokeola, however, the Heissler organ is somewhat familiar to me, as my former organ student, Andrew Moore, (grandson of choirmaster emeritus Henry C. “Bud” Klein) grew up in that church before going to college. (He’s now a sophomore). Andrew and I had several lessons on that instrument before he played for church services. However, I still had a few challenges, namely…

As I’ve told you before, sometimes one of the most challenging things in going to a strange instrument is knowing how to turn the organ on! When I went to practice this morning, there was a key hanging from the left side of the console. As the secretary showed me, however, it’s not a matter of just turning the key, you also have to push the key in. I tried unsuccessfully to do this, and finally the secretary just turned it on for me.

The other challenge was getting light on the music desk. There was a switch located on the upper right corner of the console, but both the secretary and I tried and failed to get the light on. I emailed Gloria and she assured me that the secretary learned today how to turn on the light, which must have been sometime after my practice session. In the meantime, today was an unusually dark and gloomy day in Hawaii and so I struggled to see the music in the dark.

The instrument was built in Germany at the Heissler factory and installed in 1988. It has three divisions, 19 stops, 21 ranks and is unusual in that it has three manuals: one is the Great, another is the Swell, and the bottom manual is a coupling manual. (If you don’t understand this, it’s OK—it’s just organ talk!)

It was on my late husband Carl’s and my recommendation that organist Robert Poovey came to give the dedicatory organ recital. We had just heard him play at the Regional Convention the year before as the winner of the Regional Competition and he was just starting his career. He is now the organist at St. Paul’s in Rochester, NY, following a 12 year tenure at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta. Wow, that’s a bunch of years ago! I notice that in a recent program, though, he performed at Indiana University four years ago, he still referenced the Hawaii concert in his bio!

I was talking with my friend, Jieun Newland, this afternoon, and she and I agreed it is much more pleasant “subbing” rather than having a regular church organ job. No more politics! When you finish playing the postlude, you are DONE!


About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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